Onions are one part of the Allium family. They are considered one of the easiest plants to grow on cold days. In other words, they are a kind of cold season crop. There are many types of onions, from red to yellow onions or sweet onions that can tolerate colder temperatures when growing and developing. But how to plant onions at home? How to care for onions? And what are some common diseases and pests when growing onions? Keep reading to get your answers.
When to Plant Onions
It is best to grow onions in cool weather. If you live in a cold climate, then you should grow onions while the ground is still alive (when the soil can be leveled), which could be your last spring months. If you live in temperate climates, you can grow onions in late fall, winter tolerant and ready for early spring harvest.
How to Plant Onions at Home
Since planting onions from seed can take longer, it’s better to germinate your onion seeds indoors first. And here are the basic, simple, and practical ways on how to plant onions at home:
Prepare: First, you need to pour moist soil into a planter tray or other suitable pot and dig a trench around half an inch deep for your seedlings. Then, cover softly with soil. Remember to keep the temperature warm, which is around 60 to 70 degrees F.
Transplant: After your onion seedlings start to sprout (within a period of days to weeks), it’s time to transplant them into your garden. Next, you should dig holes about 2 inches deep and 4 to 5 inches apart for your onion transplants, and they should be 12 to 18 inches apart in rows.
Companion plant: Some good plants to grow with your onions are leeks, cabbage, carrots, tomatoes, and some types of herbs, such as mint, parsley, etc.
Add mulch: You can spread mulch or other organic matter between your onion rows to help clear weeds and maintain moisture in your soil (you will not need to water onions too frequently).
Besides planting onions from seeds, you can completely plant them using onion sets. They are small onions that can be grown and thrived well into large bulbs after several months. If you want to plant onion sets, you can bury them an inch in the ground in your vegetable garden, spaced two to six inches apart. Make sure that you do not compact the soil around your onions; just cover it lightly.
How To Care For Onions
After you know how to plant onions at home, either from seeds or onion sets, it’s very important to learn how to care for onions so that you can keep your plants healthy.
It is basically for onions that the more sunlight, the better they grow. This is because onions need at least size hours a day of full sun to thrive in the right way.
When planting onions, you need to keep the soil well-drained. But it also needs a lot of degradable organic matter in it. It’s best to grow your onions in soil with a pH between a little bit acidic to neutral – 6.0 to 7.0.
Temperature and Humidity
Ideal conditions for onions to grow well are 68 to 77 degrees F, which will result in fast and full growth of the edible onion bulbs.
To support the swelling of onion bulbs, you should water your onions regularly. Let’s say one inch of water a day is enough. Make sure that you don’t overwater them or let the bulbs sit in waterlogged soil. This way, your onion bulbs will rot.
It’s recommended to fertilize onions every several weeks with a high-nitrogen fertilizer. By doing this, you can help the leaves to grow faster, and bulbs will develop larger. Stop feeding when your onions start to push the soil away.
When to Harvest Onions
Late summer is considered the ideal time to harvest onions. In fact, onions can grow relatively well in colder conditions, but as they mature, they are more susceptible to spoilage. The tops of onions will turn yellow and start to fall over as they reach the end of ripening.
How to Harvest Onions
When you are harvesting your onions, look for brown onions that poke their heads through the soil – you can pull these directly out of the ground. It’s best to keep your onions in a cool, dry place. Onions with flower stalks are ripe onions, and need to be plucked and used right away.
Common Pests and Diseases in Onions
It’s not about learning how to plant onions, but you also need to know some common pests and diseases in onions to keep your onions healthy and grow well.
Rot: Your onions can get neck, bulb, or stem rot when grown in wet soil. You can avoid this by ensuring there is well-draining soil and good air circulation.
Splitting: Your onion bulbs can split or double if you leave the soil dry while the bulbs are forming.
Thrips: Curling and twisting in your onions can be caused by small, yellow-brown flying insects. They also feed your onion leaves. In this situation, you can grow resistant varieties to avoid this. Besides, don’t plant your onions near cereal crops. You can also use insecticidal soaps or neem to control these insects, but keep in mind that’s just the temporary solution.
Onion root maggots: This is mainly caused by the larvae hatch from eggs that are laid by brown flies near the base of onions. Maggots will burrow into onion trunks, eat the plants below ground, and ultimately kill your onions. You can avoid this disease by rotating onion plants annually. To prevent eggs from being laid, you can cover your new onion seedlings. Another effective way is to use diatomaceous earth.
So, that’s how to plant onions at home, both from seeds and onion sets, and all other necessary information to care for onions, and keep them away from common diseases and pets. If you are still confused about anything related to planting onions, just leave your questions in the comment box, and I’ll answer them as soon as possible.